THIS is Housing First for Youth – A Program Model Guide

Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is a rights-based intervention for young people (aged 13-24) who experience homelessness, or who are at risk. It is designed to address the needs of developing adolescents and young adults by providing them with immediate access to housing that is safe, affordable and appropriate, and the necessary and age-appropriate supports that focus on health, well-being, life skills, engagement in education and employment, and social inclusion. The goal of HF4Y is not simply to provide housing stability, but to support young people as youth and facilitate a healthy transition to adulthood. HF4Y can be considered both as an intervention or program model, as well as a philosophy guiding a community’s response to youth homelessness.

The development of this framework was the result of a collaboration between the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and two bodies that work with young people who are homeless: The Street Youth Planning Collaborative (Hamilton) and the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness. Young people with lived experience of homelessness were an important part of this process, and provided necessary and valuable input.

A Safe and Decent Place to Live and the THIS is Housing First for Youth program model guide are intended to provide guidance for communities, policy-makers and practitioners interested in addressing the needs of developing adolescents and young adults through the application of HF4Y. Housing First programs – including the Pathways model and the At Home/Chez Soi project – have shown great success in addressing the needs of adults who experience homelessness by specifically prioritizing chronically homeless persons with significant mental health and addictions issues.

Population of Focus: Homeless youth

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Date: 2017